Flick Harrison on Tue, 10 Mar 2009 04:40:03 -0400 (EDT)

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Re: <nettime> Digital Humanities Manifesto

>> Oh, good god. There's no positive difference between "discrete
>> values" and numbers, and in the context of the actual discussion
>> I was responding to ("digital things are ... discrete values
>> or objects"), there's no positive difference between "discrete
>> objects" and numbers.

I think the main problem I have in this discussion is that I can't
say that a lightswitch is isomorphic with numbers. Nor is a telegraph
button. On / off is a binary state that could be counted, could be
numbered, but to demand that a switch-state equals a numerical state
is just to impose conceptuality on a physical fact.

The primordial digital activity, counting on the fingers, involves a
binary switch state - each finger is switched on (up) or off (down).
Thus you reach ten, or as in the babylonian system (5 fingers on one
hand x 12 knuckles on the other), 60. The binary-ness of the system
is not in the numbers, i.e. the information that the system contains.
It's in the nature of the system - the WAY that it stores information,
i.e. the process of hard, discrete switching that lets you look away
from the machine and come back to find that the state hasn't changed,
and you can thus retrieve the information losslessly.

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On 23-Feb-09, at 11:09 AM, jeremy hunsinger wrote:
> there are other kinds of values than numerical ones.   there are all
> kinds of systems of valuation.
> so yes there is a difference between 'discrete values' and numbers,
> unless you are taking a purely western mathematical construction of
> 'discrete values'   Thinking outside of the box, as well as within it,
> isn't a bad thing here, because it opens up some possibilities for
> thought.


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